Thursday, 22 May 2014

Claymore - A Great Sword

The hilt of a replica claymore
Photo by Albion Europe


Noun. Early 18th century.
[from Gaelic claidheamh great + mór sword.]

1(a) Historical. A broadsword used by Scottish Highlanders, either two-edged,
or basket-hilted and single-edged (a form introduced in the 16th century). E18

1(b) A man armed with a claymore. M19

2 In full claymore mine. A type of anti-personnel mine. M20

So claymore means 'great sword' in Gaelic ... raawrgh! It was big, heavy, two-handed, and perfect for lopping off the heads of English gits that strayed into the Highlands. It's also the name of an anti-personnel mine that, despite what years of playing Call of Duty might have taught you, cannot be deployed in under a second by ramming it into the ground in front of you (if you're a woman, pacifist, or you have a job, you probably won't get that reference).

An American soldier carefully placing a claymore anti-personnel mine
Claymores come with handy instructions printed on the case, so even American soldiers can use them
(photo by the National Guard)
Do please leave any comments in the box below.


  1. The young lad will shortly learn that this is a Chinese version where they embossed the instructions on the wrong side. They did later recall them for a free modification.

    1. It did rather remind me of a Simpons' episode where a military base is preparing a launch a missile with the instruction "Aim away from face" written on the side : o )

  2. Whenever I saw these swords (well, replicas I guess) in shows, I am amazed at how agile the warrior/soldier/person is using it.
    They look so very long and heavy.
    Any idea of their actual length and weight?

    1. 2.5 kgs according to Wikipedia. According to this interesting article, medieval swords were neither unwieldy nor excessively heavy to those well trained in their use.

    2. That's a great article Eddie, thank you.
      I can see where the parade swords would be heavier, and that's possibly where I assumed they all were heavy and cumbersome.
      Ta sir!

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